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Elders Voices
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Métis Crossing

Métis Crossing is located about one hour north of Edmonton and fifteen minutes south of Smoky Lake in Alberta, Canada. The Métis Crossing is an historical interpretative centre that will be the premiere centre for Alberta Métis cultural interpretation, education, gatherings, and business development.

Together with The Heritage Community Foundation, the Métis Nation of Alberta embarked on a research project that establishes the historical story behind Métis Crossing. This research includes an overview of the geography of the Métis Crossing and its surroundings, the Fur Trade Era, and the Settlement that took place in and around the Métis Crossing site.

A major component of this research was the recording and collecting of oral histories from Métis Elders. A number of Elders, including Bertha Clarke Jones, Hank Cunningham, and Homer Poitras shared their stories about their place in the world as Métis People. The experiences, stories and wisdom of Métis Elders are crucial for creating understanding of the Métis experience from a Métis perspective.

Bertha Clarke Jones Elder Bertha Clarke Jones

  • The fruits of trapping
    Elder Bertha Clarke Jones recalls the wide variety of furs brought home by her trapper father.
  • A busy time of the year
    Elder Bertha Clarke Jones humorously recalls the birth of her younger brother, who arrived on the same night as the farm piglets and calves, and how her father struggled to take care of the entire family. She also discusses the variety of vegetables and berries that grew in the family garden.
  • Importance of parents and grandparents
    Parents and grandparents were the strongest influences for Elder Bertha Clarke Jones.
  • Staying warm in winter
    With her grandmother's warm rabbit robes and homemade goose-down quilts, the family always managed to stay warm, recalls Elder Bertha Clarke Jones.

Homer Poitras Elder Homer Poitras

  • Magic in the air
    Elder Homer Poitras recalls the magic in the air during the signing of the National Aboriginal Day Proclamation in June 1996.
  • Homer's hope
    Elder Homer Poitras shares his hope for unity among all of Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples.
  • Métis contributions
    When it comes to the acceptance and recognition of Métis’ contribution to Canada, times are changing for the better, and children set the perfect example for their elders, says Homer Poitras.
  • Emotional Fiddle-playing
    Expert fiddle player Homer Poitras talks about the emotion that comes with playing at the funeral of a respected community member or friend.
  • An important message
    Elder Homer Poitras shares an important message regarding the future of the Métis people in Canada.
  • A family bond
    Shared lifestyles and experiences brought the family together and created a special bond, as recalled by Elder Homer Poitras.

Elder Hank Cunningham

  • Father’s Philosophy
    Elder Hank Cunningham shares the philosophy passed down to him by his father.
  • Everyone stays together
    According to Elder Hank Cunningham, the strongest feature of his family was that they stayed together.
  • Métis Culture
    Elder Hank Cunningham talks about the importance of maintaining the Métis culture for others to recognize and appreciate.
  • Stay together, stay strong
    The most important thing a family can do is stay together and stay connected, says Elder Hank Cunningham.


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